Hearty Oxtail Soup Recipe
Hearty Oxtail Soup Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Hearty Oxtail Soup Recipe

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I created this recipe on the spur of the moment for a friend who was coming to visit. I knew she enjoyed soup, so I decided to liven up my usual vegetable soup by adding oxtails. Little did I know, oxtails were her favorite and she hadn't had them for years! Was she pleased when I sent the leftovers home with her!
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 10 min. Bake: 3-1/4 min.
MAKES:24 servings
Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 10 min. Bake: 3-1/4 min.
MAKES: 24 servings


  • 2 pounds oxtails or meaty beef shanks
  • 1-1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup sliced leeks
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 4 beef bouillon cubes
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 quarts water
  • 1 cup medium pearl barley
  • Chopped fresh parsley


  1. In a stockpot, saute the oxtails, carrots, onion, celery, leeks and green pepper in butter until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add the tomatoes, bouillon, seasonings and water. Bring to a boil. Skim off any foam. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the meat is tender.
  2. Stir in barley; cover and continue to simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Add additional water if necessary.
  3. Remove oxtails; set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones; discard bones and cut meat into cubes. Return meat to soup. Garnish with parsley. Yield: 24 servings (6 quarts).
Originally published as Hearty Oxtail Soup in Reminisce Extra April 1993, p49

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Reviewed Mar. 29, 2015

"Recipe sounds good except for the fact that one cup of barley swells up to almost 6 FULL CUPS! Be careful of this... but I do like my soup barley FULLY cooked. (Retired professional cook) Will try this tonight and let the barley and oxtails simmer overnight, remove bones tomorrow, any of your favourite veggies can go into the soup closer to serving time. I love long simmered bone broths. I highly recommend McCormick's boullion cubes as no MSG. 3 star rating in order not to exaggerate or diminish as I have not made this recipe yet."

Reviewed Jan. 22, 2015

"Awesome recipe. I added more seasonings b/c I doubled the recipe."

Reviewed Oct. 26, 2014

"Using 2 cans beef broth instead of bouillon cubes and a mere 2 cups of water to begin with with a clove of garlic (crushed) instead of garlic powder - also increased the amount of chopped onion instead of using onion powder. Will see how it tastes halfway through the simmering and will add more beef broth (better if I had stock) and S&P if necessary - before I add the barley and cover it up again."

Reviewed Jun. 24, 2011

"I decrease the water to 4 quarts,add more bouiilon cubes and,and measure the salt(1-2tsp) When I made it as stated it was too bland."

Reviewed Jun. 16, 2011

"This is a great soup with good flavor! Lots of good comments from the family. It is easy to make you just need to let it simmer for 3-4 hours and take out the bones...that's the hardest part. Also, it is very economical especially if you buy your beef in bulk (1/4, 1/2 or whole cow) as you don't have to pay extra for this at the store. I just tell the butcher I want the oxtail when I have the beef processed. Make for dinner and freeze the rest."

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